Secrets, Stats and Strategy, Edoardo Molinari Spills the Tee on Augusta


As April rolls around, the golfing world gears up for one of its most prestigious events – the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. For many players and patrons, Masters week isn't just any old tournament; it's where dreams become reality, where strategies get put to the test, and where the love for the game gets celebrated in style. With four Masters appearances under his belt, including a T11 finish in 2011, Edoardo Molinari has plenty of first hand experience. While he won’t be in the field this week, he has done extensive work analyzing every inch of Augusta National. Edoardo currently is a DP World Tour Player, Ryder Cup Vice Captain, and Arccos’ Chief Data Strategist and Lead Tour Ambassador. We caught up with Edoardo for a quick chat on his thoughts and strategy on the legendary course.

What is it like to play in the Masters? Describe the experience. The drive up Magnolia Lane to play the course…

Playing in the Masters it’s a dream come true for any golfer. Getting an invitation to play means you’ve done something very special in the game of golf, whether you are an amateur or a professional. The first time you play in the Masters it’s very weird and almost surreal because you feel like you played the course so many times and experienced so many situations even though it’s the first time you are there.

What are your favourite holes at Augusta and why? 

12 is definitely my favourite hole. It’s a short par 3 but it gets your full attention every time you play it. It has defined so many Masters champions even though it’s only 160 yards long. It just goes to show that holes don’t need to be long to be challenging.

Let’s get into the strategy of how to win the Masters. What key data points or metrics do you believe are crucial for players to analyse when preparing for Augusta National? 

Everyone knows you have a big advantage if you are a long hitter around Augusta National, especially when it’s firm and you get to hit some shorter clubs into the greens to stop the ball quicker. I think people underestimate how much good course management and smart thinking play a role in winning the Masters. If you play smart and miss in the right spots you can shoot under par relatively easily, while if you start playing too aggressively, especially with your approach shots, you might shoot 64 once in your lifetime but are bound to shoot 75 every other day.

How do you think Augusta National's layout and design lend themselves to certain player strengths or playing styles?

I think left-handed players have a huge advantage on quite a few holes, 12 being the prime example. Also, 10, 13, and 14 are easier tee shots for left-handed players, because with modern equipment it’s much easier to hit a fade than a draw with a driver and both holes require a right-to-left shape off the tee.

Is there a certain facet of the game that might be more crucial than the others when strategising for the course?

I think it’s extremely important to somehow miss it in the right spots. You are going to make some birdies eventually because there are plenty of chances, but you need to eliminate the mistakes first of all. You will chip mostly from the fairway around the greens, so that part of the game needs to be sharp. Also, you mostly have two shots to play around the greens, a high soft pitch shot or a low chip that bounces one time in the fringe and then stops quickly. Mickelson and Spieth are excellent at both those shots and that’s part of the reason why they have been so successful around there.

What do you think is the most difficult part about the course? Any tips to overcome it?

The most difficult part of the week having control of your irons. All the fairways are mowed from the green to the tee so you have a lot of lies “into the grain” and sometimes it can be tricky to make good contact.

What are the hardest holes based on the data?

The two hardest holes historically are 11 and 5. Both of them are long par 4s. The 11th hole is probably one of the toughest approach shots in golf, as you can’t miss it left because of the water hazard but if you bail out right you are then faced with a nearly impossible chip shot, especially since they raised the green a couple of years ago. On the 5th hole, the tee shot is very narrow and then you have to make sure to carry the right in the front part of the green, otherwise, you are looking at an extremely difficult up and down again.

How do you think technology and data have changed how players approach and strategise for Augusta? 

Up until a few years ago, there was almost no data available at all. In the last few years, you can start looking at what’s exactly needed to play well around there, how to optimise your strategy on certain holes, and so on. So it’s a big advantage knowing some of these things compared to a few years ago, but Augusta National has so many little nuances that the smartest player will always be finishing at the top of the leaderboard

If an Arccos Member ever got the chance to play Augusta, what tips would you share with them? What should they expect? 

They should make sure to take enough clubs into the greens because it plays longer than what the yardage tells you and they should always try to keep the ball below the hole. It’s the only course in the world where you are better off being further away to the pin chipping or putting uphill rather than being half the distance from the pin but chipping or putting downhill. And you should always listen to the advice of the local caddie!

What is your favourite Food or Snack at the Masters?

I was lucky enough to have lunch in the clubhouse as a player, the food there is exquisite. I heard the Pimento Cheese sandwiches are everyone’s favorite! 

Edoardo Molinari has written a playbook on mastering Augusta, using Arccos Pro Insights, working to stack the odds in his players’ favour. Augusta National's allure is undeniable, but its challenges are as real as they come. In the end, it will take data crunching, strategic finesse and precise execution for someone to slip on the green jacket. So, who's your money on for Sunday's final round and the coveted spot to sit in Butler Cabin?

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